Few people envy the job of a debt collector. After all, who really wants to contact people to tell them they owe money or they might face penalties? It’s easy to become jaded and unpleasant when you’re dealing with this type of work - and the people who receive these calls.
Here, we’ll share some of the most effective debt collection techniques to help you become a more efficient collection agent - and to maintain your most pleasant demeanor while doing it. After all, there’s no need to lose your cool just because you work in collections. Here’s proof:
Take a Humanistic Approach
Nobody likes to hear from debt collectors, even if they are extremely personable and polite. That’s why being nice to your consumers when you call them isn’t enough on its own. You must make every effort to take your interactions to the next level and offer them a truly human conversation that gives them the feeling of empathy and understanding that they need at what might be a difficult time for them.
Some suggestions for effective debt collection techniques that evoke empathy and understanding include:
- Active listening. Really hear what your consumers are saying and respond with relevant, useful information or options.
- Don’t let confidence overshadow sensitivity. You may know exactly what you’re doing as an agent, but your consumers may be new to dealing with debt. Be sensitive to this.
- Express understanding. There are many ways to end up in debt, and not all of them come from frivolity and irresponsibility. Some of the best intentions may end with your consumers or clients struggling with debt, so be sure to express your understanding of their struggle.
- Be patient. You do this every day. You’re trained to handle this scenario. You know the rules for handling debt and have been coached on how to recover it. Your consumers have none of these advantages, so be patient with them as they explore their options and work on understanding what they’re going through.
By showing these real, human emotions to your consumers, you will not only be a more pleasant debt collector - you’ll be a much better one!
Keep Your Composure for Your Own Sake
While most agents are trained to keep their cool during even the most difficult conversations for the sake of the consumer, it’s also important to remain calm for your own health and well-being as an agent. After all, once the conversation ends, the consumer is free to move on with their day, while you are likely to have to make many more calls of the same type.
No single call is worth a major negative impact on your mental health or mood. Maintain your professionalism and focus during your calls and be polite, but be certain that you remember - it’s just one more task in your workday. If a consumer is being verbally abusive or simply won’t listen or cooperate, ask for help from your management team or terminate the call as necessary. There will always be more calls to make, so keep yourself calm and refreshed for the ones coming up!
Don’t Let Your Consumers Waste Your Time - or Their Own
Many times, those who are contacted about outstanding debts feel the need to make excuses for themselves about these issues. When this happens, agents can be stuck listening to long stories about how the consumer ended up in debt and why they may or may not be able to repay the amount due. While this can help you understand their predicament and perspective a little bit better, it can also be a tremendous waste of your time and theirs.
To prevent wasted time on the agent’s end and undue anxiety on the part of consumers, be direct in your approach. It’s great to be personable and conversational with your consumer, but it’s also key to focus on the goal at hand. Work toward resolving the debt or finding a workable solution for a payment plan - or let your consumer know what consequences they face for nonpayment and move forward with closing the file. Any other uses of your time are a waste.
Laugh When You Can
It may be difficult to find opportunities to indulge in humor when you work in collections, but doing so can vastly improve your state of mind and that of your consumers. After all, the experience of being in debt and being contacted by a debt collector is bound to be awkward and uncomfortable. A person is much more likely to respond positively if you can relate to them with humor and positivity.
Look for chances to make jokes. Speak with a pleasant tone and an audible smile when possible. Let your consumer laugh when they feel that it is appropriate, and laugh in return if they make jokes. Just be sure to remain professional and focus on the task at hand so that you can help them get their debt resolved and help your employer recover the amount they are owed. A balance of pleasantry and professionalism will always for farther than any other approach!
Effective Debt Collection Techniques Call for Efficient Technology
No matter how great your approach is, you’ll need the technology to support it. That’s where we come in at Chase Data. We want to help you pair the right actions with the right technology to get the most out of every minute on the clock.
For more information about effective debt collection techniques and how to employ them in your facility, talk to the experienced and knowledgeable staff at ChaseData. We have the tools and technology to match those techniques and help you create a better work environment for your staff - and better experiences for your consumers and clients. Contact us today to learn more!